Motherhood and Working: Finding The Balance

I’ve done a lot of food blogging in recent months, developing new recipes and posting some goodies from my cookbooks as well. Today, I am not posting ANY food pics – but I hope you’ll still stick around, read, and join my discussion (despite not having any visual food appeal)!

I’ve been mothering for 12 years now. I’ve been writing cookbooks even longer, and blogging about 8 years. Through these years, I have been asked many times – both in my personal life and through online acquaintances – “how do you do it? … how do you find the balance?“.

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My short reply is often “I’m not sure there is any balance“. We may wax poetic about how us moms can “have it all”, but is that really true? Can we? For me, motherhood and working has always been more of a juggling act than a balancing act. With all the demands of family and work-life, something has to give – eventually a ball is going to drop.

Admittedly, I don’t even experience the challenges of working outside the home. The pressure and stress that must arise from trying to keep on top of chores, errands, your household, kids’ activities, homework, and just simple “time” with children – to talk about daily joys or worries. I can only imagine how trying it must be to keep on top of day-to-day life. Myself, I have perpetual guilt when I’m working… that I’m spending time in front of the computer instead of with my girls. (Time in the kitchen is easier to mentally and emotionally justify – the family reaps the benefits of the cooking and baking). And, if I take much time off to reboot with my family, I feel I am not being very responsive with you, my readers – and that I am falling behind on deadlines and projects.

One day I was on the computer (I have dubbed myself “momputer”), and the girls were stick-handling in the garage with hubby. I heard our middle girl say “mom’s missing out on all the fun because she’s tweeting to the world“.

*sinking heart* :(

Truth be told, the idea of dodging pucks in a cold garage is NOT my idea of fun. Yet, I realized in that moment that our girls see me momputing a lot because I don’t have “regular” work hours – I’m catching up when they are engaged and I have a few moments.

As I said, something’s gotta’ give. For me, it’s two areas (1) social and leisure time and (2) household. I rarely go to movies or concerts or events or dinners or even tea with my girlfriends (they are nodding their heads right now). Hubby and I have little time together as a couple too, partly because we are struggling with babysitting right now, and we don’t have that extended family support which is such a blessing when raising children (even for their connectedness with other loving adults). So, I work and mother most of my hours. The trickiest part for me is that working blurs into mothering and mothering back into working – there is little separation between the two. Also, areas of my house are disastrously disorganized! I need that Peter Walsh bloke in here to help me sort out my office, my kitchen pantry, and my PHOTOS! (who else has 164,987 digital photos of their kids to go through? Raise your hand!)

girlsatbeach2

At times it feels like you are not doing anything particularly well! Anyone relate to that? In my heart of hearts, I know that really I AM doing a good job with my work, and more importantly that I AM a pretty good mom (I have my shit days, and even shittier hours). Yet, I think as women, we are often tough on ourselves, because we hold ourselves to high standards and expectations – rooted in our goals for our career and family. As I type this, I have the contract for my next book. I am excited and yet plenty nervous, wondering how I will “do it all”. Things have gotten busier as the girls have grown, and they aren’t slowing down yet!

Recently I’ve had many discussions with girlfriends about this pressure of working and motherhood. Several of my friends have been at home with their kiddos since birth, and now that their youngest children are in kindergarten they are struggling with the decision of going back to work. We have talked about how it’s still so busy even with the kids in school, catching up on household chores and also being part of school volunteering, and more. Then, once the kids are out of school, our days truly just begin! With homework and activities, dinner hour, and bath/bedtime and getting ready for the next day – there is so much to do in those after-school hours. Some of my friends don’t really want to go back to work, but they feel that pressure to do so, that it is expected. Many of them are asked “well, what are you going to DO now?”  Huh?! I find that upsetting and unfair, as if there is nothing to do during school hours. And, it is disappointing that our worth is so quickly ‘diminished’ as mothers once our children are in school. Our children still need us, in many ways! Also, many mothers feel the financial pinch to get back to work because our current day of parenting means we have so many expenses associated with our kids’ activities. After being at home for 7-10 years with children, it’s not simple to transition back to the work force. We need more flexibility with hours, our skills sets may need retuning, the field we’ve worked in has moved on “without us”, we may have completely different interests than before (often we do).

While I hardly have all the answers, I have found a few things that work for me. First, I do love my work. It feels meaningful and creative and purposeful. I wouldn’t work as hard as I do if I didn’t have this connection and passion. Second, I respect my burnout. When I have had too much, I break from blogging or social media. I only blog about once a week, because that’s really all I can maintain right now. Third, I respect my sleep. I have always been an early bird – early to bed, early to rise. So, I don’t abuse that. I shut off from momputing by about 8:30pm. Here’s the embarrassing confession: I’m in bed most nights by 9:30. I know, plant-powered partay! Well, I’m often up at 5:30 or 6am, so it’s my rhythm. Sleep is critical for maintaining our serenity as mothers, and I have had periods of torturous insomnia after having children – which could be a whole post on its own. So, I do my best to respect my rhythms and try – try – not to be hard on myself. Fourth, I exercise. I don’t run miles or endure long, exhausting workouts. For my body, just small spurts of daily exercise works best. So, 20-30 minutes a morning of yoga, weight-training, or rebounding (I hope to post about that soon)! Fifth, I feel whole foods help energize and stabilize me through the day. My diet is about 80-85% whole foods. I’m not perfect, I enjoy my treats. I love my chocolate. And there you have my sixth coping mechanism. ;)

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There are many things I know I should do more. I know I should meditate, have more “me” time like spa visits (ahhhh!), get out for girls’ nights, and also get away to food and veggie conferences more often. Maybe in time. I’m sure I could fit in even 10 minutes of meditation a day, that might be the best place to start.

As for “finding the balance”, that may forever remain elusive … at least until our children are much older and independent – and by that time I will likely miss the noise and chaos of my current days. ;)

How do you feel? Are you a mother working from home or outside the home? How do YOU do it all? Do you feel you have “balance”? Do you feel a lot of pressure from peers and family and society to “get back to work”? Does that upset you? What are your coping strategies? Please share your thoughts and experiences. I’d really like to hear from you on this, and if you have any links to share – feel free to do so.

37 Responses to Motherhood and Working: Finding The Balance

  1. Erin Gionet says:

    Hi Dreena,

    Thanks so much for this post. I worked part-time, then full-time, in our own family business while my kids were babies. That all stopped when I was diagnosed with clinical burnout (severe adrenal fatigue) and had to quit working to rebuild my physical and mental health. As terrible as that period was, the silver lining is that I realized “having it all” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I have been at home for the better part of 2 years now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    My kids have been in grade 2 and kindergarten this year and I have been toying with the idea of going for my Registered Holistic Nutritionist certification. I’ve just deferred for the second year in a row because I don’t know how I would manage the workload with all of the other family needs you mentioned, and I never want to get burnt out again – it’s just not worth it.

    I have so many ideas and plans but they can wait until my kids are a bit older. For the moment I’m focusing on being a “human being” rather than a “human doing” and being the best wife and mom I can be. :)

  2. Daisy says:

    Dreena, I love this post. It speaks to a lot of women today, I think. This stuck out at me more than anything:

    “At times it feels like you are not doing anything particularly well! Anyone relate to that? ”

    YES! I thought this year would be my more relaxing year (first year in 11 years I don’t have full-time dayhome kids in my care), I’d have more time to take care of the house, work on finally finishing writing the novel I’d started, get it published, work on my website projects, have my kids learning lots more than previous years (they’re homeschooled)… And instead, I find myself more and more frequently feeling like I’m on the edge of burnout. Household things get neglected. My daughter’s horribly behind in her school work (she’s high school age and doing a form of distance learning for credits). My son’s not getting anything done it feels like. The novel? Um… Websites? I go through spurts where I can post frequently and then I can go weeks without posting. And we keep getting sick.

    I’m just on the tail end of one of those “it feels like you are not doing anything particularly well” times. I’m not sure if there’s some secret I’m missing, but I will proclaim it loudly should I discover it. ;)
    Daisy recently posted..Most of My Site Hits Are From…My Profile

  3. Ricki says:

    What a great post, Dreena. And can I just say. . . even WITHOUT any kids, I can totally relate to most of what you write! I feel as if I rarely see my hubby any more, too, and as if I’m neglecting my “fur kids” so much these days. Balance is equally hard for all of us who try to do too many things at once. I like your coping mechanisms and employ most of them, too (need to start yoga! need to start yoga!!). Thank you as always for your honestly and your crystal clear, realistic assessments of your life–and so many of ours, too. xo
    Ricki recently posted..Wellness Weekend, April 11-15, 2013My Profile

  4. sue says:

    This was a great post, Dreena. I am a full-time working mom to my 2 sets of vegan twins (nearly 9-year old twins and 3-year old twins) who are homeschooled by my husband, who is disabled. I returned to work approximately 2 months after both pregnancies. I do not particularly care for my job and it is extremely stressful (social work supervisor for a large, county welfare agency) but my incomes keeps us afloat. My husband and I have had 3 dates together in the past 9 years. I feel like I am constantly running to keep everything together. I sometimes think how easy it would be if I didn’t have to prepare healthy, or at least moderately-healthy, vegan meals all the time but I look at my family and realize I could never feed them anything else. I spend as much time on the weekends with my kids while trying to catch up, and I am always trying to catch up, on cooking, cleaning, shopping and errands.

    However, there are a few things I do to keep some sanity. I walk every day during my lunch hour and do an exercise DVD before everyone wakes up and I really try to get a good night’s sleep. I find that I can face most things when I have accomplished some sleep and exercise.

    I’m still hoping that a vegan Mary Poppins will show up on our doorstep one day but until that day, I will just do my best. My kids are wonderful and I can’t imagine life without them even though I didn’t even want kids until I was 34 years old!

    • Dreena says:

      LOL Sue! How many times I have referenced a vegan Mary Poppins myself!! I was a little later having children too, well later than some of my friends. First babe at 30, so that’s not ‘late’ in our culture now, but for me with friends it’s a little later. And, I really relate to your comment about thinking “if I didn’t spend all this time preparing food”… my husband often says the reason we are busier is because everyone else doing the same stuff is grabbing takeout, pizza, etc. That’s entirely accurate. We see it all the time. But, I don’t want my kids eating McDonald’s on the way to hockey or softball, or having those arena fries and soda after the game either. I often feel so detached when watching what others eat – I’m really grateful for my online community her and on facebook to know others ARE doing the same, maybe just not in my real-life community. Thanks for sharing your perspective, I hope you get some downtime soon too. :)

  5. Laurie says:

    This isn’t to judge or anything but to share my own experience. I feel so blessed to have been able to stay at home while raising our 4 children. I know a lot of us feel tempted to go back to work when our kids reach school-age but I’m grateful I was able to be home even through my children’s high school years. Teenagers need us as much if not more than our little ones! Now that our kids are all in their 20′s, they often tell me how much they loved coming home after school knowing that their mom was there waiting to greet them – even if I was on the computer! I realize it isn’t possible for many moms to be home and I know I was lucky to be able to make that choice. It wasn’t always fun and it wasn’t always easy but I now look back and realize that teaching our children and creating a fun, safe environment of love for my family has been my greatest accomplish in life.

    • jill62 says:

      As the mother of three adult sons – the youngest is 29 – the balancing / juggling act is and has always been a difficult one. I have worked full time (mostly through financial necessity)since the youngest was three years old but for better or worse they have turned out to be (mostly) great blokes (Australian for males). They do have their ‘only child’ moments but that passes and they turn back into humans.
      The guilt thing is, I think, a female thing as my husband who loves his sons dearly just seems to accept that life isn’t perfect but its the best he can do at the time. They (the sons) know they can come home at any time, indeed the middle son and his partner are staying with us for a week before moving from Melbourne to Adelaide for work. And over the Anzac weekend we will be helping the eldest move house, which means at nearly 62 years old I will be helping carry large pieces of furniture down flights of stairs.
      On balance, and after seeing how life has turned out for us and our friends, I don’t think it really matters whether we work in paid employment full time, part time, from home or do the really difficult thing – be what is called a stay at home Mum, if you love your children and do the best you can all will be okay. They, the children, may not always do what you want/expect but have you always done what your parents wanted.
      This may seem like a long diatribe and I sorry that this has taken a lot of words but I will be 62 next month so have had time to think about this – a lot. AND as you may have gathered I am Australian – FYI Anzac Day is an important day in our history so I won’t just be moving furniture on ANZAC Day eve but thinking about what the holiday means for us. If you are interested ANZAC Day is April 25 and commemorates the day Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed at Gallipoli (Turkey) in 1915 during what is euphemistically called the great war.
      Take care and for those who cook lots I promise your children will always remember, and want to eat the food you have always cooked for them-even when they grow up and their tastes change and expandl

  6. Erin says:

    Dreena, I loved that distinction between balancing and juggling. I know exactly what you mean! You are not alone. I was immediately reminded of a TED talk I saw by Brene Brown, who writes about how shame is organized by gender.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html
    It’s about 15 min into the video, but the entire video is pretty engaging. From the transcript:

    “For women, the best example I can give you is Enjoli the commercial: ‘I can put the wash on the line, pack the lunches, hand out the kisses and be at work at five to nine. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let you forget you’re a man.’ For women, shame is do it all, do it perfectly and never let them see you sweat. I don’t know how much perfume that commercial sold, but I guarantee you, it moved a lot of antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. (Laughter) Shame, for women, is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we’re supposed to be. And it’s a straight-jacket.”

    I don’t know exactly what the solution is, but it helps me, at least, to know that this is very much wrapped up in social expectations for women and not an inherent failing of myself (which it’s very easy to feel.) It seems there’s a simple natural law of time and energy: you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

    Anyway, no good answers here, except that I really appreciated this post and wish you the best as you understand better how to integrate work and family.

    • Dreena says:

      Erin, I watched this video today and got chills. I’m so glad you shared it – thank you. I may post it to my fb page, its message is valuable to so many women. Yes, it’s so much about our expectations – what we feel others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves. Thank you for your note, and for this video.

  7. This post really hits home for me. I agree that motherhood is a juggling act. I work full-time and have 3 kids who are involved in all sorts of activities and sports. I feel like we are always running from one thing to the next. It’s reassuring to hear others say that they face the same struggles that I do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles Dreena.
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  8. Johanna GGG says:

    lovely post – I remember a friend saying that you always feel like you should be doing something else when you are a working mother.

    I am with you on having oodles of photos to sort and it takes quite a lot of time because I try and do a printed photobook of my digital photos each year and I think I am lucky if I ever get it done by mid year but it is so good to be able to look at with my little girl. It is some of these pressures as well as work and cooking and cleaning that just do me in some daya and make me feel like I am so behind that I will never catch up. But then I have a day with my 4 year old that is just so delightful that it all makes sense why I spend my days racing around.
    Johanna GGG recently posted..Topsy Turvy Dinner: savoury chocolate muffins and cauliflower rice – and a cat fightMy Profile

  9. D'Ann Martin says:

    You so eloquently wrote the words of my heart… My sweet babies are 7 and 9 and time seems to be flying! I struggle every day with balance, and have to keep reminding myself that this chaos is a season of my life that is indeed the “good ol’ days.” Someday when the kids are grown, I will look at my house and it will be clean, neat and quiet. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. I want to cherish each and every moment with my kids. I recently started working weekends vs Mon-Fri to have more time with my kids. My husband and I agreed that during this season of our lives, we are going to work harder budgeting with less money so that I can be home more. I recently heard a saying to “Let go, and let God.” I can’t imagine finding time to meditate, but I do try, when frustration sets in, to shut my eyes and say this over and over with my eyes closed taking deep breaths in with my nose and out with my mouth. I also find that I have to be very intentional with spending time with my kids. Like the game you spoke about in the garage, I often find that I simply don’t want to do things that my kids want me to participate in. I have started to make myself join in with them knowing that if I invest in their lives now, hopefully they will want me to a part of their lives later in the teen and beyond years. Thank you for your honesty, and for blessing my family with your wonderful recipes! Just remember that these are the “Good Ol’ Days!”

  10. Katrina says:

    Hi Dreena,
    Thanks for the great post. I work as a pediatrician and my husband is an ear nose and throat surgeon. We have two boys (7 and almost 2) and another baby due the end of next month. We have no family nearby but we do have an aaa-mazing nanny who is heaven-sent and such a lifesaver on so many levels. I struggle with the balance too. I definitely have my day dreams of being a SAHM but ultimately, I won’t stop working because I get so much personal value and fulfillment out of my job and I like knowing that I will still have that for me once my kids are grown and out of the house. Plus, I put off so many years of my life during my training to get to this point that I can’t quit now! It’s hard too when you put certain priorities on yourself, like committing to healthy, vegan eating. I make many, many of your recipes all the time! As my vegan mom says though, vegan recipes always have so many ingredients!!! ;) That’s how they taste good though! I really do appreciate your candor since so many “mommy blogs” focus on how great life is and all the wonderful things they are able to accomplish with their kids all the time. The tendency to compare that comes along with reading all that is not good! Many times I come away from reading those with the sense that I’m not doing enough, while wondering how I can possibly fit more into my day! Being kind to ourselves and supporting each other is really the best way to love each other!!

  11. mattheworbit says:

    You work so hard, and do so much. I hope you find a way of balancing things (OMG, perhaps less emails back and forth from me!! :P) and stay happy. It’s way important for the girls to have you around, I can’t imagine how that tweeting line must have stung. But obviously they’re not upset – just something that’s on their mind which you’ve caught early enough to change. You’re fabulous, you know it.

    And… momputer is the worst THE ABSOLUTE WORST pun in the world.. I expect nothing less of you ;)
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  12. I love how you are so honest. This is one reason I’ve enjoyed your work. I have three kids, too – 7, almost 4, and 5 mos. I have a blog that I love to write for, but just can’t find the time with an infant (and homeschooling the two older kids)! In fact, I have been cooking from ltev for many months now, compiling all my thoughts to write about it. I wish it wasn’t taking so long! My kids love your recipes so much, whenever I make something they ask if it’s a “Dreena recipe” “because you can never go wrong with a Dreena recipe”. Sending you hugs of support and many many thanks for all your outstanding recipes.
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    • Dreena says:

      Oh, thank you Jennifer. I really appreciate that sentiment. I give you MUCH credit for homeschooling – I don’t know if I’d have the patience, in fact, I know I wouldn’t. And, how sweet that your kiddos ask that!! That is a treat to read – thanks. :)

  13. Dreena, although I’m not yet a mom, I can relate to this post. “Keeping house,” whether for two people, three people, or seven, is a lot of work! Cleaning, cooking, laundry, organizing, staying on top of finances/bills . . . it all takes time! I can’t imagine how families have time to have two parents working outside the home. I teach preschool at a full-time/year-round program, and I see some very stressed out children and parents on a daily basis. I applaud your commitment to working AND being with your family as much as possible!
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  14. Krista says:

    You’re absolutely right; there is no balance. Every single mother I know has guilt about something she should be doing more, or doing better. I work evenings and weekends, which was great when my kids were small, but now that they’re older I wish every single weekend that I could be home DOING things with them, and every afternoon after school I have to be the one rushing to get dinner ready, snapping the whip on homework, etc…I (almost) never get fun, me & kids time. So, balance? Nope. Treading water? Yup. At least we’re still afloat!

    All that said, I do feel like I’m doing a good job, too. I make an effort to be kinder to myself in my self-judgments. We’re all doing the best we can.

    • Dreena says:

      precisely, Krista – treading water! Well, my hat’s off to you lady, working evenings and weekends. Because once dinner and bath/bedtimes are done in this house – so am I. :-/ I feel the same, cracking at the kids to get things done and to the next thing… and when we aren’t in that “rush to the next thing” mode, we are all much happier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I think you’re doing a good job too. :)

  15. Crissie says:

    I really love this post. I can absolutely relate. I’m a mother to 3, and have always worked full time (and gone to school, and volunteered, and tried to maintain a social life!). My husband was the one who stayed home with our kids when they were younger (made more economical sense, but I always have felt a sense of guilt.
    I’m lucky that my husband, even though he went back to work 6 yrs ago when our youngest was 3, is such the Mr. Mom. He does SO much of the heavy lifting with the kids (we don’t have extended family nearby either). Sometimes things give (like drinks with the girls!) and sometimes I cheat by spending money I shouldn’t to take care of chores that wouldn’t get done otherwise. But I’m happy with my life and realize that my kids are just fine too.
    Crissie recently posted..There’s No Crying In Yoga!My Profile

    • Dreena says:

      Thank you Crissie. We can feel fortunate that we have hubbies that contribute a lot, and care so much to give as much as we do, I know some moms that don’t have that. Drinks with the girls sounds darn good to me, btw – next time call me in!! ;)

  16. Sarah says:

    This is great! I feel the same way about all of these points! I love blogging and sharing recipes and talking with other bloggers and readers, but sometimes I realize that I’m ignoring my own family to talk with “strangers!” It’s all about finding a balance—which changes from day to day.
    Sarah recently posted..Maple Coconut Roasted CarrotsMy Profile

    • Dreena says:

      Isn’t that true, Sarah? We are connecting with others online and not always enough with our own. Thanks for sharing that, we need to remember it, all us bloggers!

  17. Bethany says:

    Dreena, you just spoke truth to so many of us. So much of what you said (including the torturous insomnia…which I still have!) is true. My son is 4 and will be starting school soon, and yes, I am haunted by that “what are you going to do NOW?” deadline. I hate to say it, but I think that we women are much harder on ourselves as mothers than our spouses/partners are. I feel like it is truly a catch-22, we’re damned if we do, we’re damned if we don’t. I’m at home full time, so I sometimes feel like I don’t really “work” (which, we all know, is bogus). I think about my “wasted” college degree. I look at my sister-in-law, who does work full-time, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve questioned her “dedication” to mothering because she willingly chooses to work rather than be home. Women are tough on each other. We need to support each other, and also say that PARENTING IS HARD!!!
    Bethany recently posted..More Big-Ass SaladsMy Profile

    • Dreena says:

      yes, YES Bethany. We are indeed hard on ourselves (and often each other) – and you know what? Most of my friends that are feeling this pressure… their hubbies are fine if they DON’T go back to work. But, as women we go through all these shifts in our lives from teenage years on… that we are always in years of transition. It is hard. Parenting IS hard. And, folks that haven’t had insomnia also don’t understand how hard that is (more mentally than physically). Thanks for your note, and I’m one of the mamas that will admit with you that mothering is not all kisses and cuddles. And, sending few of same your way. ;)

  18. Jane says:

    after a VERY difficult day/3 weeks on computer (funding applic – whole family income depends on it) i went crazy, daughter was struggling….then i wake up to this. thank you Dreena Still one more day to go, but……

    • Dreena says:

      Jane, hope you are doing okay. If this helped in any way, I’m glad. As mothers, we need to cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves due credit for how much we are juggling. Hang in.

  19. Eve L. says:

    Everything you said! Every single thing! Right on the mark. There is no balance to it, at least in my life, but I do take pride in working extremely hard and hope it rubs off on the kids. At least we’ll know we did our best. My husband’s and my “date nights” don’t exist — we usually catch up on early Sunday morning walks when our kids are sleeping or relaxing. Our kids are now 12 and 14 so we can actually be a little more flexible if we need to get out but we have had very little couple time in the last decade and a half! We do talk a lot about what we’ll do once the kids are grown – my, do we have a lot of fun things planned to do together! So I tell him to stay healthy and watch out as he crosses the street, so we’ll both be around to do these things.
    As for “me time,” I do yoga and walking, which make me happy and keep me from becoming a stressed-out mean mom. Of course, it’s just more stuff to have to work into the schedule, so it’s kind of “hurry up and relax” when it happens.
    As a freelancer I work from my house a lot, which is fantastic — no commute involved. But it also means working as late as needed to meet deadlines, having to ignore family members at home and repeatedly telling them to be quiet! Working at outside work sites makes things more hectic, but when the day is over, it’s over (at least with what I do).
    I guess I’m trying to cram being a stay-at-home mom and a working mom into the same small space. I can do it! But I’m not always in the best mood while doing it :) Luckily most of the women I see around me are in the same boat, so I don’t feel alone, but rather part of the vigorous activity of living, being engaged with the world, and being a parent.

    • Dreena says:

      Eve, I feel some comfort knowing that hubby and I aren’t the only one that don’t have much ‘date time’. It really is very difficult for us at this time, and we look forward to our girls being a little older and our eldest being able to babysit the crew, even for small outings – like you mentioned a walk on the beach or out for a tea. Can you imagine when they are grown, we won’t know what to do with our time?? LOL!! I also have that feeling of “hurry up and relax”, which feels counterintuitive for yoga, but I’m not great at being totally ‘zen’ when there is so much going on around me and even more to do. Thanks for relating, and helping me feel a little more ‘normal’ too. xo

  20. shira says:

    I work full time as an attorney, but I’m lucky that my husband is a stay-at-home dad and does the bulk of the household chores, plus doing a fantastic job with our kiddos. Still, I feel very conflicted being at work all day and make a special effort to be home for dinner every night and do as much as I can with the kids on the weekends. I definitely made some sacrifices in my career to be a more present mother and I don’t think there’s a such thing as having it all. There’s no work-life balance, just choices.

    • Dreena says:

      It’s the mama guilt, hey Shira? We are torn working too long and feel we need to ‘make it up’ somehow – to our kids, and hubbies too. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive husband too, and while he doesn’t do the bulk of the housework, he manages several things *all* the time, and also does a lot of the driving for activities with the girls (almost all), and that accounts for a LOT. Plus, he does the cat litter. That is priceless. ;) Thanks for chiming in.

  21. Emily says:

    I could relate to so much of your post! I run a small translation agency and work from home, have four little ones ages 2 months-8 1/2 years, and when the school we had hoped would be a good fit for our family didn’t work out as planned, we started homeschooling. I love our life, but often feel like I am doing all things rather poorly, and too much time on the computer is definitely one I feel terrible about. I find that having some me time that I don’t in anyway feel guilt about is the way to go, and for me, that is writing. I take a once a week writing class, and I’ve started blogging some of my stories. Meanwhile, my house is in chaos and I’m trying to shift my thinking from “once I get all my to do list done, that’s when I’ll be more present and engaged with every aspect of my life” because the truth is, the to do list never gets done (or even much shorter).
    Emily recently posted..More on FreiburgMy Profile

    • Dreena says:

      4 kiddos between 2 mos and 8 yrs – and homeschooling – and working! Holy smokes, Emily, you need a medal. To wear everyday as a reminder! I’m glad you’ve found some time for a hobby/pursuit that gives back to you. We need that, for our happiness and sanity. My house will always be in chaos I figure… time to accept it. ;)

  22. michelle says:

    i;m with you, Dreena.. i don’t think there is any balance. or, at least, i haven’t been able to find it. i actually recently decided that this will be my last year of doing home daycare because of all these issues. i’m feeling burnt out with work, though i still love my job. i just don’t love every minute of it anymore, lol. i feel like i’m ‘mothering’ someone… my kid or not.. constantly. and when i focus on work, my housework and sewing/reading/cooking suffers. AND, i realise that i’m so lucky that i do work at home, and i can throw on a load of laundry during the day and do other little things. so i’ve decided that i’m going to take 6-12 months off work altogether. i want to be able to sew more, read more, cook more, and finally go on a field trip with the school! after i’ve taken some time off and recharged my batteries, i’m really not sure what i’m going to do. which is really exciting.. and terrifying!!

    until then, quilting is my major stress buster. there’s something really zen about getting in a groove of stitching.

    • Dreena says:

      oh wow, Michelle, I know that must be a difficult decision for you. There are times for change, and it sounds like you are ready for just that. You may discover a whole new path/passion for yourself – if not, there’s nothing wrong with having more downtime and just enjoying life, right? Clearly you are meant to quilt, too!! xo

      • michelle says:

        it is a hard choice.. one i’ve been thinking about for the last few years! but now i’ve officially set a date.. finished July 1, 2014. it will be harder on us, financially, of course, which is why we are taking steps now to ease the burden.. cutting some costs, trying to save more, and i hope to sell a few quilts during my time ‘off’. i can’t even tell you how much i’m looking forward to “Just” taking care of my own family & myself.

        after a while, i think it would be cool to work at our local natural foods store.. they have an in-store gluten-free and mostly vegan bakery. and it’s a short walk from home. there’s also a gluten-free store close to home, and a bunch of bookstores that would be cool to work in. but i’m not focusing too much on that part yet..

        eventually, i’ll probably come back to home daycare.. there are a gazillion of things that i do love about working from home! and with all these little sweeties! just need to take a break before i start dreading my day, you know?

        • I’m just starting my home business as a Registered Dietitian in Kelowna. My kids are 3 and 6 and I can totally relate! It is so much work just to stay in touch with everything on line, never mind managing my actual clients! I still think my kids get more time with me than if I worked out of home. My husband and I go on dates whenever family visit, I run and I only manage two baths a week for my sons! And a few years ago I decided having digital photos on my computer is a way of organizing them, I’m not going to worry about that one anymore! Thanks for the post Dreena, came at a perfect time (4 months into my business- http://www.OkanaganRD.com!)

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